FOOTBALL stars Jefferson Lerma and Diego Rico have joined in with more than 40 young players at the latest Premier League Kicks session at Mudeford Wood Community Centre in Christchurch.
Run by the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust, the sessions – which are free of charge, open to all and held across the area – welcome young players on a turn-up-and-play basis to get involved with the game.
The project is sponsored by two companies based at Bournemouth Airport’s Aviation Park, AIM Altitude and Curtiss-Wright.
Lerma and Rico joined the young players for their fun footballing activities as well as answering questions about playing in the World Cup finals and signing for the Cherries.
AFC Bournemouth head of community Steve Cuss said: “Premier League Kicks is one of the programmes we run throughout the year at 17 sites across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.”
“This session in Mudeford runs every Monday evening and youngsters from the area come along to take part in different activities.
“It’s great that Jefferson and Diego have been here to watch the boys and girls play.
“We’re here every week regardless of the weather. It’s becoming a little bit colder now but the children still come out and want to enjoy their football.”
Colin Thornton, group design and engineering director at AIM Altitude, said: “The beauty of Premier League Kicks is that it allows companies like AIM Altitude to put something back into the local community, benefiting the next generation.
“The team running the sessions does great work. The young players were really focussed on the drills and exercises. The added bonus of star players joining in the fun is that it guarantees smiles all round!”
AIM Altitude designs, engineers and manufactures aircraft cabin interiors for the world’s major airlines, delivering iconic bars, lounges and social spaces. Christian Howe, Group Marketing Manager at Curtiss-Wright, attended the session to see how things were going.
He said: “Curtiss-Wright have been looking for a sports charity to sponsor and support and give back into our local community. We have a large staff base in the Christchurch area – we employ roughly 500 people locally and it’s good to give something back into the local area.”
Curtiss-Wright, born from the first powered flight in 1903, is a market leader with diverse, technically advanced, product lines operating within a wide range of global markets from agriculture to automotive and aerospace to nuclear energy.
AFC Bournemouth’s self-funding, non-profit Community Sports Trust (CST) runs the Premier League-backed Premier League Kicks scheme locally with more than 1,000 young people participating last season.
Nationally, 69 football clubs are involved in the flagship scheme, engaging with more than 225,000 youngsters since 2006.
It aims to promote participation in sport in areas of high need, provide opportunities for young people to develop skills and confidence and support young people to progress into positive pathways.